The time is drawing near. As many of you know, I will retire as Oregon Food Bank’s CEO on June 30. In my years at the helm of OFB, I’ve gotten to know so many wonderful people: those hundreds who served on our Board of Directors; families in need willing to share their stories; legislators and governors; enthusiastic supporters from all walks of life; and colleagues in food banking across the country. I attended my last national hunger summit recently, and said my good-byes to friends in the Feeding America network who’ve given me support, great ideas and kept my sense of humor intact for the past 29 years.
A few weeks ago, as I was sifting through my office, I packed up my vintage “food” salt and pepper shakers and donated them to OFB West to add a little fun and color to the facility. That evening, I also shared a wonderful meal with some of our generous volunteers, who last quarter repacked enough food to provide over 3 million meals! I’m still a bit overwhelmed by all the memories and participants at my retirement party, which was hosted by our board.
We have come so far in our understanding of safe food distribution, nutrition, the causes and impact of hunger over the past 29 years. And while we have not yet achieved my goal of ending hunger, I find so much hope for the possibility in the many thousands of people engaged in doing something about the problem – from school kids who donate their piggy banks to farmers and corporateexecutives.
In my time here, OFB and the OFB Network of regional food banks and local partner agencies have distributed more than 1 billion pounds of food – the equivalent of 920 million meals. The OFB Network now has more than 900 partner agencies with volunteers who give more than 2 million hours of their time to serve an estimated 1 million people in need. We have 60,000 extremely generous financial donors and nearly 30,000 volunteers who help to support our operations. And OFB will continue its evolution as an industry innovator by strengthening our commitment to effective public policies, education programs and strengthening food systems with our local communities.
I thank you for all you have done to help thousands of people in Oregon and Clark County, Wash., by supporting our mission and vision. Knowing what a high-caliber, dedicated staff and board I leave behind, I have no doubt that I will be amazed by the next chapter of this nationally recognized organization.
With admiration and gratitude,
Oregon Food Bank is in the process of conducting a national search for a new CEO. Learn more about the position and how to apply. Janeen Wadsworth, OFB's COO, will act as interim CEO during the search.